Whitewater figure James McDougal dies

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — James McDougal, one of most important cooperating witnesses in Kenneth Starr’s Whitewater investigation of President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, died Sunday at a Fort Worth hospital. He was 57.
The Clintons’ former business partner was the owner of an Arkansas savings and loan and the architect of a series of fraudulent loans and land deals that he alleged the president and first lady were aware of.
McDougal’s death will significantly alter the complexion of the Whitewater investigation. After they got word of McDougal’s death Sunday afternoon, Starr and his deputies were in a meeting at their Washington offices that was still in progress after several hours.
McDougal died in a federal medical prison. He had suffered a variety of ailments, including heart disease and blocked arteries, but the medical examiner did not immediately state the cause of death. He was serving a three-year prison sentence for fraud.
McDougal’s death means the Clintons no longer face the prospect of their former real estate partner giving damaging testimony against them. While he testified extensively to the Whitewater grand jury in Little Rock and has been cooperating with Starr since August 1996, McDougal’s death means he is no longer a threat as a witness in a courtroom or an impeachment inquiry against the president.
Clinton issued a statement saying he was sorry to hear of McDougal’s death.
Since 1996, after his conviction on 18 felonies, McDougal had provided Starr with key information about the Clintons.